Fall Recipe | Lentil Chili
There are two lifestyle changes that I have implemented in the past year that I am so excited to share with you: A plant-based diet and the Instapot! For those of you who have not embraced either, fear not. My family still eats meat (which I continue to prepare for them) and I'll always love traditionally preparing meals over the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. I will definitely be sharing plenty of those as well!
You will absolutely savor this chili alternative, and whether you follow a plant-based diet or eat meat, you won't sacrifice flavor, presentation or satisfaction.
In all honesty, this was my very first time working with an Instapot, though I had been curious for quite some time before this attempt. My priority is to still put a home-cooked, hot meal in front of my family for dinner, and with our busy wedding and event season right here and right now, I knew I had to make friends with this efficient cooking appliance!
First things first: I like to start by taking out all of my ingredients, measuring spoons, cups, knives, cutting boards, etc. out and available for easy and quick access. An organized kitchen is a happy (and clean!) kitchen! *wink
I looked to Peas and Crayons for InstaPot guidance with this recipe and altered some ingredients for preference:
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 1 TBSP olive oil (or 1/4 cup veggie broth if you are whole food plant based)
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño(to garnish)
- 1 poblano pepper
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic!)
- 1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
- 1 can spicy chili beans with sauce (15 oz])
- 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 2 cups organic fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (drained)
- Dash of liquid smoke
I could have easily prepared this in my slow cooker or stood over the stove watching this for some time, but thanks for the easy tutorial from Peas and Carrots, I mastered the InstaPot with relatively great ease! Take it from Jenn, she breaks it down SUPER easy for you:
- First chop your veggies and measure out the ingredients.
- Switch your pressure cooker to the saute function and saute 1 TBSP oil with onion for 3-5 minutes, until edges are golden and browned.
- Then add garlic, peppers, and corn, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes to soften slightly.
- Add lentils, veggie broth, chili beans, black beans and spices.
- Set to high pressure for 15 minutes and allow to come to pressure.
- Allow a natural pressure release.
- Lastly, stir in crushed tomatoes and adjust broth/tomato/seasoning to taste, adding more of what you prefer to get your ideal thickness and flavor punch.
- I added the crushed tomatoes at the end to avoid overstuffing my pressure cooker and score a quicker cook time as well. Since my crushed tomatoes were canned they took zero time to heat up once swirled into my piping hot pot-o-chili. Sweet!
- If you want to dive in sooner, feel free to manually release the pressure on your Instant Pot by flipping the little lever from seal to vent. Worst case scenario, if your chili needs a little extra time you can seal it back up and give the veggies extra time to soften. Pressure cookers are pretty forgiving like that!
- Add all your favorite toppings and dive in!
I ultimately garnished my bowl of chili with fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeño peppers, sliced avocado, and plantain chips as these happened to have been in the pantry and were still the perfect (plant-based!) accouterment to this dish. While I skipped sour cream or greek yogurt, (I avoided the dairy) I did stir in some Daiya cheddar cheese which melted just perfectly and offered that indulgent, rich texture and flavor! I also have put it on top of a sweet potato and on a mixture of brown rice and quinoa.
I would love for you to let me know how you plan on preparing and serving chili this season!
With a wink and a smile,
All Images: Abby Liga